How do I know if my piano is in tune?
I get this question quite a bit from parents of students. The easiest way to check is to play notes together in all of the octaves. For example, try a low C and the next highest C. Both notes should sound nice together, just one lower and the other one higher. However, if you start to hear a wavy sound with "beats", you are out of tune. You should check all of the notes this way before you call the piano tuner. Also, check to see that the keys don't stick after playing them...this is also something the piano tuner can fix. Sometimes the pedals also stick, so make sure your piano tuner checks everything while they are there.
Usually change in the seasons is the most common antagonist for a piano going out of tune. It is a good idea to keep them away from windows, doors, and direct heat. Piano tuners suggest placing the piano on an inside wall as well. Because this instrument is made with so much wood, any changes in temperature and humidity will swell or contract the soundboard, which in turn affects the tuning. However, sometimes it is almost impossible to abide by all of these considerations. It may mean you have to have your piano tuned twice a year instead of just once. Good luck and happy tuning!